Not far from football stadiums in Brazil, there are millions of people living in conditions we cannot imagine.
Today the World Cup 2014 kicks off in Brazil. Football fans everywhere are looking forward to a month of sporting entertainment at its best.
Yet, not far from the football stadiums, there are millions of Brazilians living in conditions we cannot imagine. More than 50 million people live in poor housing. Roughly 26 million people living in urban areas lack access to potable water, 14 million have no rubbish collection service and 83 million are not connected to sewerage systems.
The challenges facing families living in slums in Brazil are similar to the 1 billion people who live in slums around the world.
Slums emerge when the demand for affordable housing exceeds the supply. A rapid increase in population, like people moving to a city to find work, is one reason slums form.
Habitat for Humanity advocates for challenges surrounding slums to be addressed in ways that improve living conditions without unintended consequences, such as forced evictions. Removing slums by bulldozing and forced displacement does not solve the underlying lack of affordable housing. It only displaces residents and leaves them even more vulnerable.
Instead Habitat recommends slum upgrading and ensuring secure tenure. Slum upgrading alleviates poor living standards in order to provide decent and affordable housing to everyone. Security of tenure removes the threat of eviction and can increase economic growth, address inequalities and reduce poverty.
Enthusiasm of football is universal. It crosses borders, brings together cultures and promotes teamwork. Just like the winning football team will do, addressing the urgent, global challenges rapid urbanisation presents requires teamwork by many, including residents, community groups, local authorities, governments, businesses and non-profit organisations. It is vital if cities in Brazil, and around the world, are to become engines of growth and sustainability for all.
Read this article in The Guardian about Habitat for Humanity’s recommendations for addressing Brazil’s housing problems.
Donate to support Habitat’s work on similar initiatives here.